Why the Restorative Inquiry is different

What is a Restorative Approach?

Tea light candles lit from the flame of a larger candleThe Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children opened in 1921, initially as a place to care for children of African descent. Its mandate changed over the years, and by the 1970s it was a group home for youth of all backgrounds. While the Home was intended as a place of caring, many former residents suffered harms that have affected them, and their families and loved ones, for generations.

What happened at the Home is reflective of bigger issues, including institutionalized abuse of children and the legacy of systemic and institutional racism. These harmful legacies must be addressed—for the sake of former residents, African Nova Scotian communities, and all Nova Scotians.

A Different Way Forward

A traditional public inquiry is focused on uncovering facts and laying blame. We need to understand not only what happened, but why it happened and why it matters for all Nova Scotians.  We need a process shaped by restorative principles that does no further harm, includes all voices and seeks to build healthy and just relationships so we can learn and act together.

The Restorative Inquiry will look at the past with a focus on future solutions: not only preventing any more harm, but making meaningful changes that will help us treat each other more justly and equitably in the future.